Kentucky Teachers To Rally Again As Lawmakers Return For Final Legislative Days

Kentucky Teachers To Rally Again As Lawmakers Return For Final Legislative Days

Several schools in northern Kentucky are closed Friday as teachers rally in Frankfort.

In Danville, hundreds of educators and supporters of teachers from Boyle County, Mercer County, Danville Independent and the Kentucky School for the Deaf rallied with signs, cheers and plenty of honks from passing cars.

Many school districts, including the state's largest, closed on Friday because so many teachers were expected to head to lawmaker.

This version of the two-year state budget sets aside more funding for public schools than the bill Bevin originally proposed. The rally took on a festival-like atmosphere as some teachers sat in lawn chairs or sprawled out on blankets.

Bevin's administration questioned the lawmakers' revenue projections, saying the new taxes wouldn't cover the spending and would lead to at least a $50 million shortfall over the next two years.

In Oklahoma, teachers ended two weeks of walkouts on Thursday, shifting their focus to electing pro-education candidates in November.

Tourism Cabinet officials declined to be interviewed on the record this week about the film incentive program, which lawmakers made a decision to continue against the governor's wishes in the budget bill they approved last week. In a dramatic moment, Senate President Robert Stivers cast the decisive vote for the override. Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation raising teacher salaries by about $6,100 and providing millions in new education funding, but many say schools need more money.

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Fayette County Public Schools - the second-largest district - has also canceled classes.

Kentucky teachers haven't asked for a raise.

Beshear sued earlier this week to stop the pension reform law. Bevin barked back, calling union leaders "absolute frauds" who had not been clear in what they wanted.

The pension bill would place all new teachers into hybrid cash-balance plans rather than the traditional defined benefit plans and also caps the number of sick days teachers can use to determine retirement eligibility.

The state will contribute more to teachers' pensions every month because they aren't eligible for Social Security.

That day, more than 10,000 teachers gathered into the Capitol to protest, partly in response to changes to the pension system that were rushed through the legislature the week before - hours after the provisions were first revealed in an unannounced committee hearing. They claim the diminished benefits for future teachers will discourage others from choosing teaching as a career.

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